It’s become more difficult to put businesses selling merchant services into distinct categories. Not so long ago, independent sales organizations (ISOs) primarily sold payments solutions and services. Value-added resellers (VARs) that partnered with companies to sell point of sale (POS) systems. Independent software vendors (ISVs) or their channels sold the software. Providers worked with their clients to get them the IT necessary to run their operations. But, for the most part, they stayed in their lanes. The challenge for merchants, however, was having to work with an ISV, a VAR, an ISO, and possibly other vendors, to create the total POS solutions they needed to run their businesses.
Forward-thinking solutions providers, hardware resellers, and merchant services providers began recognizing an opportunity. Retailers, restaurateurs, and other merchants, particularly small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), prefer to deal with one vendor. They also prefer to use a fully integrated system that the provider builds and tests– and can provide answers for, without finger-pointing, when something goes wrong.
As a result, solutions providers offering total POS solutions have gained a competitive edge. Through partnerships or developing their own IP, ambitious companies have met the demand for robust, total POS solutions from a single provider. These companies are also capturing the attention of investors who recognize the logic of providing software and payments together with IT tools and services.
How ISOs Can Provide Total POS Solutions
While ISVs seem to have the upper hand in the market, this doesn’t have to be the case. ISOs are well-versed in all things payments, which is expertise many ISVs don’t have. However, ISOs may not have resources on their teams that can match various POS software to a specific business’ needs, find complementary solutions to round out the tech stack, and recommend POS terminals, tablets, or peripherals to run it.
Here’s where a partnership with a payment technology company can mean significant value to an ISO. Payment technologies sit at the intersection of software and hardware. They provide payment terminals that equip merchants to accept the full range of payment methods – and have evolved to enable terminals to run business applications.
For example, Ingenico’s AXIUM platform gives merchants a versatile POS solution that includes payment applications, smart POS functionality, and device and security management. In addition, it leverages the flexibility of Android to give merchants access to a large ecosystem of business applications they can deploy directly from their payment terminals by selecting them from an app store.
This model allows ISOs to leverage the payment technology partner’s expertise and network to provide the functionality merchants need. In addition to accepting payments, the terminal can become the hub for a merchant’s operations, enabling point of sale functionality, employee management, inventory management, customer feedback, and more.
Additionally, a cloud-based payments platform can be offered as a SaaS solution, enabling ISOs to create solution bundles for different segments of their customer bases and deliver them on a subscription basis.
Adapt and Grow
There’s little doubt that the payments and point of sale landscape is changing. The question is how your ISO will respond. If you continue to focus only on providing merchant services, you will likely lose relevance in a market where other companies are offering all of the tech solutions that merchants need. If you expand your portfolio to provide more services and business applications, you’ll have a greater ability to compete.
Ingenico is ready to partner with you to make it happen. Contact us.